Quarterback Geno Smith shows Seahawks transformation after costly interception
GLENDALE, Arizona – When the The Seattle Seahawks traded Russell Wilson in March, many believed the team would later begin searching for their next franchise quarterback. Few thought the quarterback was already in their building.
Geno Smith rebuilt his career as QB1 in Seattle.
Smith passed for 275 yards, two touchdowns and one interception to lead the Seahawks to a 31-21 victory over Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. The Seahawks swept the season series against the Cardinals and are in first place in the NFC West at 6-3.
“I’m happy as a team that we got the recognition we deserve,” Smith said.
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Smith threw the costly interception that epitomized his career before this season in the third quarter, throwing a pass right into the hands of Cardinals linebacker Zaven Collins for a pick-six to give Arizona a 14-10 lead.
Still, Smith’s next three drives were a classic example of his transformation this year for the surprising Seahawks — poised, accurate, efficient and timely. He led Seattle in three consecutive touchdowns after an interception.
“Everyone makes mistakes and everyone messes up. Just overcome adversity. Get over that interception,” Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf said of Smith. “You see how he answered the call and drove us down for a touchdown. It just shows what kind of person and quarterback we have.”
Not only did Smith play well, he completely outplayed his predecessor. Entry 9th week, Smith had the NFL’s best completion percentage (72.7%) and top-five passer rating (107.2). (Wilson, meanwhile, has thrown six touchdowns and four interceptions while completing 58.8% of his passes. He has an 83.6 passer rating.)
Smith completed 76.5% of his passes (26 of 34) and finished with a 106.9 passer rating in Sunday’s win over the Cardinals.
“Geno had another big game for us,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll. “He just did all his numbers again.”
It was an incredible comeback story for the 10-year veteran.
Smith became the backup quarterback, making 29 of his 34 starts this season in his first two years with the New York Jets after being selected in the second round of the 2013 draft. After a difficult tenure with the Jets (2013-16), Smith moved to New York Giants (2017) and Los Angeles Chargers (2018). He then signed with the Seahawks in 2019 and was even a backup in Seattle before the team traded Wilson to Denver Broncos. Even going into training camp, quarterback Drew Lock, who came to Seattle in the Wilson trade, was the favorite to start for the Seahawks. But Smith rejected Locke and revitalized his career in the Pacific Northwest. Smith was a candidate for Comeback Player of the Year.
The Seahawks took on the 32-year-old quarterback. They are a team that doesn’t faze the naysayers who counted them out to start the season.
“We’re just a resilient group. You look everywhere. You have Geno (Smith) coming out of New York and kind of shutting down and having to sit in the back seat,” Seahawks safety Ryan Neal said. “You caught me, who was undrafted. It’s just a bunch of guys all over the team to where it was scratching and clawing. We have Tyler Lockett, one of the smallest guys in the league, but he plays.
“We all have an underdog story. When you go out and see Geno do something like that, it just shows the theme of this team and the heart of this team. Like I said before, it’s us against the world.”
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Tyler Dragon on Twitter @TheTylerDragon.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Geno Smith is showing the Seahawks that he can be the QB of the present and the future
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